The 5 Cringiest ’80s Music Videos

The 5 Cringiest ’80s Music Videos | Society Of Rock Videos

via Steve Miller Band / YouTube

The 1980s broke new ground in the music industry, mainly thanks to the birth of MTV. This era saw music videos become an essential tool for artists, offering a visual companion to their auditory creations. However, the rush to embrace this new medium resulted in a mix of iconic and, well, not-so-glamorous productions. Let’s dive into some of the decade’s most unforgettable missteps in music video history, remembered more for their cringe than their craft.

Van Halen: ‘(Oh!) Pretty Woman’ (1982)

Van Halen’s take on “(Oh!) Pretty Woman” was a chaotic mess that left viewers scratching their heads. It was as if the band threw every wild idea into the production, regardless of how it fit together. With scenes that ranged from odd to outright bizarre, the video seemed like a confusing dream rather than a coherent tribute to Roy Orbison’s classic. The result was a jumbled collection of visuals that might have looked like fun on paper but translated poorly to the viewer at home.


Chicago: ‘Hard Habit To Break’ (1984)

Chicago’s attempt to visually capture the essence of “Hard Habit To Break” went astray, leading to a mismatch between the song’s emotional depth and the video’s superficial execution. It featured an awkward parade of longing glances from band members towards younger actresses, which felt more cringeworthy than poignant. Instead of enhancing the song, the video diverted attention away from its lyrical strength, leaving a disjointed impression on its audience.


Steve Miller Band: ‘Abracadabra’ (1983)

Instead of casting a spell of musical enchantment, the “Abracadabra” video by Steve Miller Band falls flat with its monotonous execution. The video sticks to a repetitive visual theme that quickly loses its charm, if it ever had any to begin with. The magic intended by the song’s title fails to translate to the screen, leaving viewers underwhelmed and seeking the wizardry of more engaging content. In a word – boring. And then boring some more.

Journey: ‘Separate Ways’ (1982)

Journey’s “Separate Ways” is often remembered not for its melodies but for its bewildering video execution. From air-keyboard solos to cringe-inducing attempts at drama, the video seemed disconnected from the song’s emotional gravity. It turned what could have been a powerful visual story into a collection of odd and confusing moments, dimming the shine of the track itself.


Toto: ‘Waiting For Your Love’ (1982)

Toto’s venture with “Waiting For Your Love” served as a lesson in the unpredictable nature of music video success. Despite the band’s previous chart-toppers, this track’s accompanying video missed the mark spectacularly, failing to capture the interest of even MTV. It was a setback that underscored the challenges artists faced in translating their musical visions into compelling visual narratives during the early days of music television.


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